NPR announced two major mobile launches — a redesigned and expanded mobile NPR.org for users of web-enabled devices, and an NPR News app for Android, to be available soon. The Android app, named “NPR News”, has completed the development phase and will be available to Android users later this month.
The new NPR Mobile Web offers easy access to hundreds of live and on-demand NPR and NPR station programs, and offers a greatly improved user experience for all mobile devices. The new Mobile Web is modeled on many of the attributes of the NPR News app for iPhone and iPod Touch and offers a similar look and feel. Mobile users can go to www.m.npr.org on their mobile device to access NPR.org content.
“We’ve seen a nearly ten-fold increase in our mobile traffic since the launch of our iPhone app earlier this year, said Kinsey Wilson, SVP/GM, NPR Digital Media. “With the redesign of our mobile web site and the launch of the Android app we’re now able to bring that superior experience to a much wider audience.”
Android is an open-source mobile operating system that has emerged as a strong competitor in the mobile space. Currently T-mobile, Sprint and Verizon support Android devices.
NPR was introduced to Android from the Open Handset Alliance, when Google employee, developer and avid NPR fan Michael Frederick approached NPR’s Mobile team with an offer to build an NPR app. Because Google employees are allowed to donate 20% of their time to any one project, Frederick offered to build an NPR mobile app for Android. NPR’s app for Android will be available soon for download in Android Market.
Highlights of the new NPR Mobile Web:
• New Station Search Feature. The site will allow users to search for stations by zip code, call letters, or city/state. Users will also be able to “favorite” or bookmark multiple stations.
• Higher quality audio experience. Users can stream the audio links on the site from within their device’s browser (rather than just “click to call”). The result is superior audio quality as well as availability in a wider range of audio formats: AAC, MP3, WMA, 3gp, and RM. Blackberry users can now play audio on the site within their browsers.
• More station audio. All the audio links available through the iPhone app will be available on the new NPR Mobile Web site: station live streams, podcasts, RSS feeds, and newscasts. A “device detect” feature will ensure that only audio links compatible with the particular device are displayed. Station logos will appear at the top of all screens that display station-specific content.
• Station newscasts. Station newscasts will continue to be available via the new NPR Mobile Web.
Highlights of the NPR News app for Android:
• Backgrounding. The NPR News app for Android allows backgrounding, so that users can click to listen to audio and then toggle between applications as the audio is playing. It also uses open source code, allowing developers to iterate and improve the app in the future.
• Listen and Read. Allows users to listen to programs and read news at the same time.
• Extensive Topics section. News section showcases NPR’s top 10-20 topics of the day ranging from Science to Books to World News.
• NPR station listening choices. Easy to find and bookmark more than 600 favorite NPR stations and hundreds of station on-demand streams. Live station streaming to launch in Spring 2010.
• Playlist. Bookmark favorite programs to play later.